Sears Canada CEO Calvin McDonald has resigned from his position for a new job opportunity. The move comes in the midst of a three-year restructuring initiative to strengthen the retailer's position in the region against new competition from Target and Wal-Mart.
Previous executive VP and COO Douglas C. Campbell, who is also a retired Marine Corps officer, took his place as CEO and president, as well as a member of the company's board of directors, effective Tues., Sept. 24.
"I am excited about the opportunity to lead a company with such a great brand and history, and to continue to improve the performance of Sears," said Campbell. "I am eager to move us forward, to work closely with our management team and to continue to engage our customers and our 25,000 associates to better serve families and communities across Canada."
Sources told the Globe and Mail that McDonald's resignation involved a disagreement with Sears Holdings Corp over "the pace at which capital was being deployed to keep the momentum of the transformation going."
McDonald's retail strategy involved focusing resources on private labels and already-strong verticals such as women's dresses, swimwear, coats, baby goods, appliances and mattresses, according to the news source. Electronics and toys, two of its struggling categories, were discontinued.
According to multiple media reports, retail analyst Keith Howlett of Desjardins Securities said in a note to investors that McDonald's resignation will likely dampen the retailer's progress.
“Our view was that McDonald was a talented, energetic retail executive and might have been able to accomplish a turnaround against what we perceive as long odds,” he wrote. “Our speculation is that McDonald may have held differing views from those of the controlling shareholder, Sears Holdings, on the appropriate level of capital spending for store renovations, on the sale of under-market leases back to landlords (Yorkdale, Mississauga Square One and others) and with respect to the outsourcing of head office positions to other countries.”
Reportedly, McDonald told Reuters in January that he was dissatisfied with the company's progress thus far.
"I want to thank the associates of the Company for all of their hard work during my time at Sears Canada," said McDonald. "It has been an honour to lead an iconic Canadian retailer, and I look forward to your continued success."